Sunday , March 26 2023

China's Moon mission inside first seeds sprout


Close-up of a seed sprouting under a protective coverImage copyright

Seeds taken by the Moon by China's Chang'e-4 mission have sprouted, says China National Space Administration.

It is the first time any biological matter has grown into the moon.

The Chang'e 4 is the first mission facing the moon, facing away from Earth.

It is touched down on 3 January, carrying instruments in the region's geology.

Plants have been the International Space Station before but never on the moon.

The ability to grow plants in the Moon will be integral to the long-term space missions, which would take about two-and-a-half years.

It would mean that astronauts could be harvesting their own food in space.

Image caption

Raw images made by the lunar surface appear red; the new images have been calibrated

The Chinese Moon is a lander that has been carrying a lot of seeds and seeds.

The plants are in a sealed container on the lander. The crops will try to form a mini biosphere – an artificial, self-sustaining environment.

Will the Moon be contaminated?

By Paul Rincon, Science Editor, BBC News website

The lunar mini-biosphere experiment on the Chang'e-4 lander is a test method for the process of living in the environment. The whole experiment is contained within an 18cm tall, 3kg canister that was designed by 28 Chinese universities.

The organism inside has a supply of air to help them grow. But one of the challenges, say Chinese scientists, is to keep the temperature fluctuating when the Moon swing wildly between -173C and 100C or more.

They also have control over the humidity and nutrients. Some people have raised the risk of contaminating the Moon. And it's worth reiterating that there is already a 100 ton of human waste left behind by the Apollo astronaut.

On Tuesday, Chinese state media became the seeds of now grown buds.

The ruling Communist Party's official mouthpiece of the people's tweeted an image of the sprouted seed.

Fred Watson, Australian Astronomical Observatory's astronomer-at-large, told the BBC the development was "good news".

"It is suggesting that there might be no problems with the astronauts in the future."

Image copyright

Image caption

Seeds in the Chang'e-4 have begun sprouting after landing on the moon

"I think there's a great deal of interest in using the Moon as a staging post, because it's relatively near the Earth," Mr Watson said.

Prof. Xie Gengxin, the experiment's chief designer, was quoted as saying in the South China Morning Post.

"Learning about these plants is a low-gravity environment.

They got cotton could end up being used as a source of food for the astronauts and the rapeseed for oil.

China's Xinhua news agency said it was the "20th-day journey from Earth to the Moon."

They only started growing ground ground cent a command to the probe to water the seeds.

Xinhua got the probe had taken about 170 pictures so far which has been sent back to Earth.

On Friday, the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) released several images taken by the site as well as the video of the vehicles touching down.

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